Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Basie Bytes: "Macaroni and Cheese Ravioli" at Gaetano's

This Week's Best Bet:
Macaroni and Cheese Ravioli at Gaetano's


We know we wrote about Gaetano's once already in the past but this brand new menu item deserves its own mention... Gaetano’s Restaurant has introduced their new Macaroni and Cheese Ravioli and it is unique and delish! The ravioli is made with real Cheddar and Impastata cheeses. Try it out for yourself, you won’t be disappointed.

It's on their menu as a kids item, but grown ups will love it too. Lots of smooth cheesy filling on the inside of the ravioli... doesn't need a drop of sauce to make it complete; It's mac and cheese in reverse. This dish gets 2 thumbs up from the Basie CEO!

Gaetano's Hours of Operation:

Lunch 11:00-3:00 Monday - Saturday
Dinner 4:00 - 10:00 Monday - Thursday
Dinner 4:00 - 11:00 Friday - Saturday

10 Wallace Street | Red Bank, NJ 07701 | (732) 741-1321

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Basie Bytes: "Chicken Marsala" at Racioppi's

This Week's Best Bet:
"Chicken Marsala" at Racioppi's

If you've ever taken the train into or out of Red Bank, you are probably familiar with this tucked-away little gem of a restaurant. Situated on the southern edge of Red Bank's NJ Transit parking lot, Racioppi's has become a local favorite. You can head over during lunch time to grab a quick cup of soup or a sandwich, or even swing by for a full pre-show dinner with delicious options such as the Gianna Salad (mesculin greens, gorgonzola, pears, walnuts & cranberries finished off with a creamy balsamic) or start off with a plate of their whimsical mini fresh mozzarella balls stuffed with a cherry tomato!

But if you ask us, the winner here is the Chicken Marsala. As soon as we tried it, we knew we would blog about it.

A generous portion, Racioppi's Chicken Marsala is bursting with flavor! As you may know, Chicken Marsala is a dish that can sometimes tend to become mushy and bland but Racioppi's has perfected the task of ensuring that the inside of the chicken breast juicy while keeping the outside golden brown -- and of course, their excellent Marsala sauce is loaded with mushrooms and ties it all together as the perfect finish. While you're at it, order one of their unique garlic & herb potato cakes to go with it: smooth whipped potatoes mixed with roasted garlic and fresh herbs, coated in light breadcrumbs and baked in the oven to form a crisp exterior. Yum!

So next time before you're headed to the Basie to pick up tickets or see a show, give Racioppi's a try!

Racioppi's is open M-W from 9a-6p and Th-Sat from 9a-10p.

107 Oakland Street | Red Bank, NJ 07701 | (732) 933-5989

Friday, May 21, 2010

Basie Bytes: "Split Pea Soup" at Basil T's

This Week's Best Bet:
Split Pea Soup at Basil T's

If you're familiar with the area, you know that when heading down Route 35 south, upon crossing the Red Bank bridge into town, one of the first businesses you're greeted with is Basil T's Brewery & Italian Grill. They've been here for many years and have a very loyal following of devotee diners as well as over 1,000 "Mug Club" members -- which they claim is "the largest in America"!

But what you might not know is this: they have perfected the old-world classic, split pea soup.

Yes, it sounds simple enough at first... but don't let that fool you. They had us at first spoonful.

The humble listing in the menu reads:

Zuppa Piselli
Old-fashioned Pea Soup with Pancetta
Cup - $4.50 / Bowl - $8

...Pancetta??? If you're scratching your heads, well then yes... it's true that traditional split pea soup is prepared with regular ol' ham. But this addition of pancetta (aka, Italy's version of bacon) adds the perfect salty bite to compliment this homemade soup. Served with a large crouton and some freshly shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano on top, it is just a perfect dish in any season. And luckily, they have it in every season!

Here is what Basil T's had to say about their Split Pea Soup:

"The Split Pea Soup is a Basil T's original in the truest sense of the word; it is the only thing on our menu that has never been changed or removed since we opened. Every other dish on the menu was added later or has been tweaked in some way except the Split Pea Soup."

Our other favorites here include Bolognese (house-made ruffled pappardelle, veal, beef and pork, Italian tomato, fennel seed, onion and celery finished with marscapone cheese), Orecchiette Salsiccia (house-made orecchiette, sausage, broccoli rabe, garlic, extra virgin olive oil and Pecorino cheese) and Rigatoni Melazane which features house-made rigatoni, fresh tomato sauce, and Pecorino-Romano with small cubes of lightly-fried eggplant which melt in your mouth like little pillows of genius!

Basil T's was kind enough to provide us with the basic recipe for their Split Pea Soup as well so you can do your best to replicate it at home... but next time you're in town, stop by their restaurant and try the real thing!


Add 1 cup of each, finely diced: carrot, onion and celery, with diced pancetta. Cook in olive oil until vegetables and pancetta are browned. Add 1 bag of split peas, and 3 quarts of chicken stock. Cook while whisking every 5 minutes until ready (about 40 minutes). Add salt and pepper to taste.

Basil T's Italian Brewery & Grill
183 Riverside Avenue | Red Bank, NJ 07701 | (732) 842-5990

Monday, April 26, 2010

Basie Bytes: A Dining Experience at The Melting Pot

This Week's Best Bet:
A Dining Experience at The Melting Pot

Frequenters of Red Bank are well-familiar with The Galleria, the large brick structure built in 1907 which used to be a textile factory, that now houses some of the best dining and shopping options in the area. But what you may not know is that it also houses one of the most unique yummy experiences in town! If you haven't "dipped" into The Melting Pot yet, "cheese it" over there right away! Ok, we'll stop with the fromage jokes...

So as you might have guessed, a full meal at The Melting Pot can be a little pricey but they do have special packages and discount events fairly frequently which you can learn about by signing up for their email list, Club Fondue. Eating here is something we do on special occasions, and ideally, by fasting for a day before we do so! It is also not a meal to rush through... you should make reservations and allow yourself at least 2 hours to spend there to play it safe.

With an extensive cocktail and wine menu to start things off, you're sure to find something to whet your whistle before you start your meal. One of the more unique libations (for adults!) here would have to be the Yin & Yang martini... the perfect balance of Godiva White Chocolate liqueur, Stoli Vanil vodka, and ice cream topped with chocolate shavings:

And c'mon, how badly would you want to snap a cell phone picture of that and send it to all your jealous friends?!

As you move through the dining experience, it will come time for you to choose a cheese fondue for the table. There are always many to pick from but our favorite continues to be the Cheddar Cheese fondue: aged, medium-sharp Cheddar & Emmenthaler Swiss cheeses, lager beer, garlic and seasonings. Yum! It is prepared table-side by your server and comes with hunks of bread, apples slices, and fresh veggies.

Next comes the entree selection. We recommend the Land & Sea option: a combination of New York Strip, Chicken Breast, and White Shrimp -- served raw and with a plethora of veggies, ready for you to cook yourself in your choice of 4 different cooking styles ranging from a Court Bouillon broth to a Bourguignonne oil. A selection of batters and dipping sauces also accompanies the meal.

Here's a tip: Fill a fresh mushroom cap with their delicious gorgonzola sauce, dunk the whole thing in fresh tempura batter and drop it into the fryer. You've got a handmade stuffed mushroom that will blow you away! (Downside: The rest of your table will be asking you to make one for them, too...)

Lastly (if there's any possible way you're still hungry at this point), comes the vast dessert offerings. Choose your favorite chocolate fondue for the table, which all come with an array of "dippers" from strawberries and bananas to marshmallows and brownies (and more). We recommend the Chocolate S'mores fondue: Milk chocolate topped with marshmallow cream, flambeed and garnished with crushed graham crackers.

Are you drooling yet?

2 Bridge Avenue, Galleria (1st Floor) | Red Bank, NJ 07701 | (732) 219-0090

Monday, April 19, 2010

Basie Bytes: "PANCAKES" at Broadway Diner

This Week's Best Bet:
ANY of the Pancakes at Broadway Diner

To start, Broadway Diner is awesome, in and of itself. NJ is famous for our diners and like most good ones still in existence, their menu is tempting and extensive. You can order everything from cheese fries to paninis to Belgian waffles to milkshakes to calamari to burgers to pasta to salads... and so much more! But in our opinion-- the show-stopper here is the huge variety of pancakes they offer.

You get three large cakes per order and we doubt you'll be able to finish them. Prices are extremely reasonable, and whether you order the banana pancakes with fresh fruit folded in, or the candy bar pancakes mixed with shredded coconut and chocolate chips, or the good ol' bacon pancakes-- you are sure to leave with both your stomach and your wallet satisfied! But there's just something special about their plain buttermilk pancakes which are our favorite dish. Spread with a touch of whipped butter and maple syrup, they'll melt in your mouth no matter what time of day you order at this 24-hour diner! Best served with a cup of hot coffee or their fresh-squeezed OJ.

The interior of this space has that charming, nostalgic, retro feel and is just as great for a date as it is for a meal with the whole family!

Broadway Diner
45 Monmouth Street | Red Bank, NJ 07701 | (732) 224-1234

Got a recommendation? We'd love to hear it! Email ayerves@countbasietheatre.org to send in your favorite Red Bank dish or place to shop!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Basie Bytes: "Specialty Olive Oils" at Carter & Cavero

This Week's Best Bet:
Specialty Olive Oils at
Carter & Cavero Old World Olive Oil Company


We love to cook simple food using a few very good ingredients. At Carter & Cavero, it is often REALLY hard to choose which olive oil (or vinegar... they have those, too!) we want to go with because after browsing their well-stocked store full of spigot containers just waiting for you to dispense samples, you really do want to walk out of there with one of everything! It's very easy to stock up your kitchen counters with delicious international treats, and you don't need to go far to do it-- it's right here on Monmouth Street, just steps away from the Basie!

Here are just 2 of our favorite products, paired with one of our own recipe suggestions. Let us know how you and your guests like them!

Basil Olive Oil:
Smooth taste with just the right amount of sweet basil infused. Drizzle it on fresh tomatoes and fresh mozzarella, sprinkled with a little ground sea salt and cracked black pepper. Leave it in the fridge for a few hours before serving... the flavors marry and guests always ask for the recipe for the dressing!

Meyer Lemon Olive Oil:
Whisk a little of this delicious oil with the juice of ½ a lemon, ground sea salt and cracked black pepper. Drizzle on fresh spinach leaves with baby portabella mushrooms and thinly shaved Parmesan. Light and delicious! Add dressing right before serving.

Once you try these addictive gourmet offerings, you'll never go back to supermarket olive oil again!

Carter & Cavero
Old World Olive Oil Company
19 Monmouth Street | Red Bank, NJ 07701 | (732) 219-0506

Got a recommendation? We'd love to hear it! Email ayerves@countbasietheatre.org to send in your favorite Red Bank dish or place to shop!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Basie Bytes: "Lobster Ravioli" at Gaetano's

This Week's Best Bet:
Lobster Ravioli at Gaetano's

Gaetano's in Red Bank has a winner on their hands! We recently tried one of their specialties-- lobster ravioli-- and were so impressed! It is house-made ravioli stuffed with fresh (yes, it really is fresh!) Maine lobster meat in a tasty pink cream sauce. And, they do not skimp on the lobster meat. An added bonus is that once you've polished off the ravioli, there is just enough sauce remaining for your last piece of bread to take care of. The portion size was very satisfying and we look forward to ordering it again! Other highlights here include the Prosciutto Di Parma panini sandwich and the Eggplant Cutlet Parmigiana focaccia sandwich. The rest of their very large menu features a huge variety of delicious regional Italian cuisine-- but this scrumptious lobster ravioli is a must! In addition, Gaetano's has an Italian specialty market on premises (also available online) for your cook-at-home needs.

10 Wallace Street | Red Bank, NJ 07701 | (732) 741-1321

Got a recommendation? We'd love to hear it! Email ayerves@countbasietheatre.org to send in your favorite Red Bank dish or place to shop!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Basie Bytes: "Foccacia Style Sandwiches" at Tommy's Coal Fired Pizza

The Marketing staff of Count Basie Theatre is always busy-- and we are always looking for fun places to go and great things to eat on our lunch break. We find ourselves constantly recommending restaurants, shops or attractions in town to our many colleagues, vendors and partners... we've decided to extend those recommendations to YOU, our audience-- the friends who buy tickets to our performances and spend time in the beautiful town of Red Bank. This will be a new blog, as well as a feature in our emails, and on Facebook and Twitter. It will be a mix of brand new places and old favorites!

Got a recommendation? We'd love to hear it! Email ayerves@countbasietheatre.org to send in your favorite Red Bank dish or place to shop!

This Week's Best Bet:
"Foccacia Style Sandwiches" on the lunch menu at Tommy's Coal Fired Pizza

In addition to these sandwiches being mind-blowingly delicious (which they are; more on this later), these sandwiches are enormous which makes them a crazy bargain at just $7.50! Plenty to share, or buy yourself lunch AND dinner in one shot. There are only 2 to choose from-- the breaded eggplant (which is pounded thin and topped with fresh mozzarella, sliced tomatoes, roasted red onions, Kalamata olive paste & fresh basil) or the grilled chicken (which has got a bit of a "kick" and is topped with roasted red peppers, mushrooms, onions and fresh pesto sauce) -- but both are equally amazing! Oh yeah, they also have pizza, salad, soup, wings and more... but trust us: try these sandwiches first! :)

Tommy's Coal Fired Pizza
2 Bridge Avenue @ The Galleria | Red Bank, NJ 07701 | (732) 212-1700